After struggling once again at home, the A’s kicked-off a six-game road trip at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City against the homestanding Royals. The Royals took the field in their snappy city connect uni’s while the A’s came to play in their road grays.
Ruiz led off with a base hit down the first base line and took second on a Ryan Noda single to centerfield. Keller botched a pickoff attempt at second and Ruiz came all the way around to score the first run of the night.** Brent Rooker walked but was thrown out trying to take second on a pitch that bounced in the dirt but right into Salvatore Perez’ throwing hand. The five-time Gold Gove award winner Perez gunned a perfect throw to second to snag Rooker. After a Bleday line drive out to left field ended the inning the A’s had a 1-0 lead.
Shea Langeliers led off with an infield single in the second. Tony Kemp doubled to right field, moving his catcher to third with no outs. But Keller worked out of the jam without another A’s run.
Ryan Noda walked to lead off the top of the third and Brent Rooker made it 3-0 with a bomb off Keller to deep left field. It was Rook’s tenth of the year. Ramon Laureano followed with a 2-2 pitch bomb to centerfield: making the score 4-0.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Ryan Noda walked again. Rooker drove his buddy home again with a double into the left field corner to bring the score to 5-0. It was Rooker’s 25th RBI of the young season. In the bottom of the inning, Salvi Perez singled and rookie Nick Pratto deposited one in the center field stands for a two-run homer, bringing the score to 5-2. It was the lefty’s first homer of 2023.
JJ Bleday led off the inning with a walk and scored from first on a Tony Kemp 2-base hit into the right field corner. Kemp’s hit sent Keller to the showers. Nick Allen closed the books on Keller with a single scoring Kemp from second base. Ruiz followed Allen with a single, driving him to third with two outs. Ryan Noda doubled driving in Allen and Ruiz. In the middle of 5 innings, the A’s had a 9-2 lead.
KC loaded the bases with a couple of cheapie hits wrapped around a solid single. Vinnie Pasquantino then hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track to score Maikel Garcia from third. But Muller induced a ground ball double play from Salvatore Perez to end the threat with just one run scoring. The A’s continued to lead 9-3.
The Royals loaded the bases against Muller in the sixth. Muller induced a force out at second that drove in Nick Pratto. That ended Muller’s night. Maikel Garcia drove in Duffy with a sacrifice fly to deep center. So, at the end of six, the A’s still led the Royals 9-5.
Shintaro Fujinami made his fourth bullpen appearance for the A’s in the seventh inning. Back-to-back walks put runners on first and second for Kansas City. In fact, Fuji only threw one strike in the nine pitches to both batters. Perez popped out to shortstop for the first out. He walked the bases loaded on four pitches to Pratto that were nowhere near the strike zone. Austin Pruitt relieved Fujinami, inducing a pop out to Laureano that drove in Edward Olivares. But then Hunter Dozier tripled past a diving Ruiz to score two more to tighten the game to 9-8 in favor of the A’s after 7 innings.
Ryan Noda walked for the third time to lead off the eighth inning. Brent Rooker singled, his third hit of the night, to drive Noda to second base. Laureano grounded out to the first baseman Pratto, moving the runners each up a base. Jesus Aguilar was intentionally walked to load the bases, and then he was removed for pinch runner Jordan Diaz. Shea Langeliers hit a sac fly to right field to drive in Noda for a much-needed insurance run. Rooker took third on the play. Rooker scored on the walk/wild pitch to Tony Kemp, bringing the score to 11-8.
Esteury Ruiz doubled with one out in the top of the ninth. Ruiz stole third and came home on a fielder’s choice for Ryan Noda and an error on the throw home by Royals first baseman Pratto. Headed to the bottom of the ninth, the A’s had a 12-8 lead.
Zach Jackson entered the ninth in a non-save situation. Vinnie Pasquantino greeted him with a leadoff base hit. Jackson struck out Perez swinging. And two soft groundouts sealed the victory.
**Ruiz was credited with his A.L. Leading 14th stolen base of the season.
May 5th in A’s History: 1975 – The A’s release pinch runner Herb Washington. Washington played in 105 major league games without batting, pitching, or fielding. He stole 31 bases and scored 33 runs.